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The Six Most Important Things to Consider when Selecting an Assisted Living (Part Four)
Ensuring Long-Term Success when Dementia is Involved
Did you know Stellar specializes in dementia? I have a graduate Certificate in Gerontology from Cal State Fullerton and both of our associates, Robin Gonzalez and Wesley Morrow, are Certified Dementia Practitioners. We also have extensive practical experience with over 1000 successful placements since 2010!
When determining the right long-term fit for our clients we consider their budget, geographic desires, physical and clinical needs; and we also take into account the many factors related to dementia, when applicable. For example:
- Is the client with dementia social?
- Did they used to be social prior to the onset of dementia and are now suffering from depression and anxiety?
- Does the client tend to self-isolate?
- Is the client no longer able to ensure proper nutrition and hydration on their own due to their dementia?
- Is the client very active physically, and if so, are there tendencies for the individual to wonder?
- Are there disruptive behaviors that may even cause them to be combative physically or verbally at times?
There are often so many factors involved when a dementia diagnosis is present. It’s imperative to consider all of those aspects thoroughly to ensure long-term success. Below are examples of what type of assisted living we might suggest based on the needs of our clients with dementia:
Larger, apartment-style assisted-living communities are great for people with fairly mild dementia. However, because dementia is almost always progressive by nature, a larger assisted living with a memory care unit on site is best for the long term so that as dementia progresses one can transition to memory care without having to make a more significant move to another community all together.
Memory care is a wonderful option for individuals that need a secured environment if the client has a tendency to wander or exit seek. Because memory care units are often larger, they can be great for ambulatory individuals who need more space to safely wander. Memory care is also a more appropriate option for those that are verbally or physically disruptive because the environment is designed to manage such individuals. Caregivers have more extensive dementia-specific training. Combative behaviors are often managed more effectively in memory care because there is usually on-site nursing available to work directly with physicians around medications. Memory care options also provide wonderful activities through the day to keep residents active and engaged versus allowing for isolation and insufficient oversight.
Residential homes can be wonderful for people with all levels of dementia as long as there aren’t any significant combative behaviors or wandering tendencies as most residential homes are not secured. Such behaviors can be quite disruptive in a small environment. Residential homes are great for individuals with moderate or end-stage dementia as they may benefit from a more intimate setting and a higher caregiver-to-resident ratio to provide more direct oversight. Residential homes often also work with wonderful physicians that make house calls to help manage medications and enhance the quality of life for such individuals.